Well, almost. You could think of this as a Kodak Brownie (£5) with a tiny digital back, or an Olympus Pen with a cheap Lensbaby. Either way, shooting with a 100-year-old lens on a modern digital body was always going to be a bit of fun on a wet Sunday afternoon….
Quite a promising start in flat overcast light.The low contrast has been boosted just a little in these shots as they really were flat. This experiment is really pushing a cheap mass-produced lens – the Micro Four thirds sensor is tiny by comparison with the area of medium format film so we’re in effect ‘pixel peeping’ this lenses abilities.
The Kodak was a real success at the beginning of the last century – 1/2 million made. A real ‘camera for the masses’, most prints were probably small contact prints from the medium format rollfilm.
Here’s the lens and shutter. We’re not going to worry about the shutter – just put it in ‘T’ mode (one click opens the shutter, the other closes it when you’re finished several hours later). The aperture has been left wide open – I’ve got enough difficulties focussing this thing already thanks.
If you’d like to know what all these interesting looking controls are look here.
The focus mechanism is a rack type arrangement with bellows between the film and the lens. It’s very hard to move smoothly, even after oiling, but just about useable.
Here’s the sophisticated mounting system – the back comes off the Kodak to load film, leaving a hole just about the size of an EPL5. The writing on the Kodak body is notification of all of their patents in Great Britain, Canada and Australia – 1909 to 1919. This was taken with the much more sensible RX100.
There’s no point in worrying about lens alignment – the lens is already ‘out of true’ on the bellows, and I’m not even sure the EPL5’s sensor is in the middle of the image cast by the lens anyway. The focal length? My guess is around a 4/3 100mm equivalent and the effective aperture is going to be tiny. Just like using a Lensbaby, aperture priority with centre weighted metering is best (‘best’ here is a relative term!).
Bulbs overwintering in a tray – no harsh areas of lighting so quite good all things considered. ‘Quite good’ in this context means we can see what this is…
The soft ethereal light is partly the drizzle, but mainly the tendency of this very old lens to flare at the slightest opportunity. I really like this effect. The colours are surprisingly good – this camera predates colour film (the Kodak, not the Oly obviously)!
Focus not nailed here (at least I don’t think so!), but what a good rendering of the out of focus windows.
A nicely misty/flared shot of mistletoe on a bare tree. This could be useful with some post processing…
In the interest of true experimentation, a ‘Dramatic Tone’ just for good luck. I’m sure this is a world first with this combination!
What to make of all this?
Is it useful? Er, not really, but it’s a cheap alternative to a Lensbaby if you don’t mind the baffling degree of messing about with the focussing rack. It does show that you can create an image – albeit a rather fuzzy one – using some very old kit indeed.
It was however the most photographic fun I’ve had for a while, and just like the early days of using film, I’m just pleased to get any result at all. I’d really like to have another crack at this on a brighter day…. I’ll post the results when I get round to it.
Hope you like them, thanks for looking!
That’s very creative, Rob! Cool idea. I like the results too, what possibilities!
Thanks Karen – good to hear from you. It’s not the easiest combo to use – I’ll have another go in better light I think!
Some very interesting images. A very different approach to combining the old with the new and stretching the edges of technology with the use of a vulcanized rubber sensor mount.
Hello KC – I’ve been slightly economic with the truth here – I ended up using 4 hi-tech optically stabilised vulcanised sensor mounts in the end. The ‘product illustration’ was the Mk 1 version…..
Brilliant! Will you now be adding your own patent to the side of the Autographic? 😉
I’m not sure I’d like to place my name anywhere near this particular piece of ‘technology’!
Fun for you to do, no doubt. Fun to read and see the images for me!
Thanks Katherine – though I’m not sure it will catch on as a photographic technique…